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On the Rumba River Reviews

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Nora Lee Mandel

Rambling, but gloriously celebrates the triumph of the talents and art of old men even in the most deprived and depressing of circumstances.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 7/10

December 7, 2008
Nick Schager

Makes up for its lack of informational depth with stirring poignancy.

Full Review Source: Cinematical

June 7, 2008
Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Like The Buena Vista Social Club, to which it has been compared, the film's great strength is its performance footage.

Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide | Original Score: 2.5/4

June 6, 2008
Noel Murray
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mostly On The Rumba River works best when it sticks to the musical performances, which Sarin films in lengthy scenes built from extreme close-ups of lips, fingers and sweaty skin.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B

June 6, 2008
Jeannette Catsoulis
New York Times
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You don’t have to be a fan of African tunes to appreciate Jacques Sarasin’s heartfelt ode to Congolese music and its resilient practitioners.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 3.5/5

June 6, 2008
Amy Nicholson
Boxoffice Magazine

An introduction to singer/songwriter Papa Wendo Kolosoy that leaves us feeling like he's an acquaintance we'd like to meet properly.

Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine | Original Score: 3/5

June 6, 2008
Chris Barsanti
Film Journal International

Jacques Sarasin's documentary about the legendary Congolese singer Wendo Kolosoy is a big, mellow jam of a film--a must-see for world-music fans.

Full Review Source: Film Journal International

June 6, 2008
Rob Humanick
Slant Magazine

On the Rumba River illuminates a culture's means of political response via communal expression through music.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 3/4

June 5, 2008
Julia Wallace
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a filmmaker, Sarasin has an extraordinarily light touch.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

June 4, 2008
Kam Williams

The Kinshasa Social Club, if you get my drift.

Full Review Source: NewsBlaze | Original Score: 3/4

June 4, 2008
Louis Proyect

Totally winning documentary that can best be described as the Congolese version of "Buena Vista Social Club". A loving portrait of the reemergence of an 83 year old master musician.

Full Review Source:

May 23, 2008
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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Delightful music alternates with too-brief interviews with Wendo and his colleagues. On the Rumba River cries out for narration to help viewers understand the tragic context of his life.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 2/4

June 6, 2008
Hank Shteamer
Time Out New York
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Director Jacques Sarasin's refusal to supply more than scraps of context -- either about the performers or the politics of the civil-war-torn region -- renders the film narratively limp.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 3/6

June 5, 2008
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